The suspension system on your car has two main jobs:
- Keeping your tires in good contact with the road as you travel
- Making sure your spine is still intact once you get there
Too much of one goal might allow the other goal to suffer a bit (depending on how you drive), so there is a balance to hit here. Depending on the vehicle's intended purpose, that balance might bias to one side more than another. Where we come in, is that we give you the tools to tweak that balance for your intended purpose, or maybe return it back to where it should be, if you're sitting on some worn out parts.
Diving deeper, your suspension system is also largely responsible for ensuring even tire wear, giving your steering a relatively neutral platform to do its thing, and allow for appropriate weight transfer under braking/acceleration/cornering to keep your car going where you point it. Shop Popular Make Model Suspension Systems - For a Perfect FitFord F150 Suspension
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| Ford F150 Suspension
So how does your suspension system get all this done?
While the basics of a functioning car suspension system isn't exactly rocket science, getting things dialed in to do that job well might as well be. Anyway, let's break things down to the basic components, or at least the ones most of us need to actually worry about:
Your springs support most of the weight of your vehicle, and are what allows your car to compensate for changes in the road surface. They also help to support and distribute the weight of the vehicle, including passengers and cargo, and work to keep your car at a good height above your tires to give room to absorb impacts without bottoming out.
The two most common types of springs most modern vehicles use are:
Most passenger cars these days use these, at least for the front suspension, if not all four corners. The springs are typically steel coiled around a predetermined axis. This design gives a compact footprint, and can offer plenty of strength to handle heavy and light applications alike.
Simple, cheap, effective. Leaf springs have been used since even before horse and buggy days, and for good reason. Essentially just being strips of steel bolted together, they're cheap and easy to manufacture, and are still the top choice for really heavy duty applications, such as trucks pickup trucks carrying heavy loads -- or weirdly enough, a single transverse leaf spring in the back of the Corvette.
Remember that part about car suspension keeping your tires on the road and your spine intact? Springs make those things possible, but shock absorbers make sure they're done well. Basically the shock dampens, slows, and controls the movement of the suspension, preventing your car from bouncing all over the place over the slightest bumps. However, just having shocks does not make for good car suspension, or even decent. Just picture old military Jeeps bouncing around all over the place in old war footage and you'll see what I mean.
An important misconception to clear up about shocks is that they do absolutely nothing to hold your vehicle up, they just control and dampen movement. We get calls all the time from people looking to fix their sagging car suspension with new shocks, only to find out they actually needed new springs instead.
Bushings play a critical role in not only providing a pliable pivot point for your suspension parts to operate upon, but this another one of those spine savers that we love so much. Seriously, a big part of what gives dedicated race cars such a rough ride are the solid bushings they often use.
Basically a strut just combines the spring and shock into a single assembly, technically making them coilovers, but shhh, we don't call them that. The advantage here for manufacturers is compact packaging that the manufacturers can just drop in during assembly.
OK, so yes, the struts above are technically coil springs sitting around a shock, but these are the real deal in terms of outright performance. The differentiator here is that a coilover is a single contained unit (although some struts come this way as well), and oftentimes offer adjustability for height as well as dampening. These are usually tuned for performance over comfort, though some kits ride very smooth out of the box. These can also be the go-to choice for lifting or lowering your vehicle and having the ride tuned accordingly straight out of the box from the manufacturer.
So what is it you need? If you need help finding the right car suspension parts, we're here to help! We're all car enthusiasts here and we love talking cars and figuring out builds, so give us a call or hop in a chat and we'll help you get what you need.